When I'm not traveling for a story or a wine tasting, I live in the heart of Italy's Tuscan countryside, near Arezzo. I am currently Wine Spectator's lead taster for the wines of Italy and Bordeaux, as well as Vintage Port, but I have reviewed wines from many of the world's major wine regions during my long career with the magazine.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, I joined Wine Spectator in 1981 and moved to Europe in 1985. I lived in Paris and London before settling in Italy in 1998. I began blind-tasting Bordeaux in 1983 with the late author and wine merchant Alexis Lichine, and I have reviewed every vintage of Bordeaux since. My barrel-tasting reports from Bordeaux appear each spring on WineSpectator.com.
In Italy, I review more than 3,000 wines per year. My book Vintage Port (published in 1989 by Wine Spectator Press) is the authoritative reference on the subject. I am also the European editor of Cigar Aficionado, for which I cover Cuba and other parts of Latin America.
My passion is great Bordeaux, Brunello and Barolo, but I find amazing bottles of Burgundy, California Pinot Noir or old Vintage Port equally exciting. In fact, I love any great wine with character--white, red, rosé or sweet.
For me, wine is more than simply fermented grape juice. It's part of living. I've drunk great white Burgundies with friends while eating grilled fish on beaches in Phuket, Thailand, and I've tasted dozens of vintages of California cult wines in a fancy restaurant in Zurich. I still savor the first moment I drank a cool glass of young Beaujolais with steak frites in a corner bistro when I arrived to live in Paris, and I think back to London when I tasted dozens of vintages of Pétrus back to the 1920s at the restaurant Le Gavroche. I've had the Talbot 2003 with a triple-chili burger from Tommy's in L.A.--fantastic, even in a paper cup! Those, and others, are all times to remember and are what wine can bring to life--fabulous memories and unforgettable moments.
Travel is my other great passion after my two children, Jack and Isabel. I have been to just about every country in Europe, and I have explored many parts of Latin America and the Far East. I also like nothing better than taking out my Ducati or BMW motorcycle--whether it's down to my local bar to enjoy a frothy cappuccino or on a weeklong road trip to Sardinia. And inviting friends to my house for dinner with plenty of opened bottles brings me lots of joy, especially in the summer when we can dine alfresco in my courtyard.